+15 Ken Carlson History


Ken Carlson

Ken CarlsonPage
Thanks to Ken Carlson for sharing with us his Pre Pearl Harbor experiences.

History of Ken Carlson

Subject: My history on Selfridge and Anthony
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 17:22:06 EDT
From: KingDogCharlie@cs.com
To: bobrsr@erols.com

Between my genealogy project and this computer, I try and keep busy. Pat says I hardly ever talk to her, always at the computer, but she keeps up with the Giants baseball, so that sort of cuts me out. We have lots of sunshine and lots of wind. We have yellow and red finches, turtle doves, and crows. Patty feeds the finches and such other small birds that show up. I go to the YMCA in Santa Rosa for Aqua aerobics Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, with visits to various and sundry doctors. I have a bad Sciatic nerve and am pretty much lame in my left leg. The doctor give me spinal shots, but they don't do much good. Other than that and feeling old I do finewith Pat's help. I can still drive when Pat lets me.

I am sending an attachment that I sent to my niece in Calgary for her daughter to use in a school program. . My story of the USS Selfridge DD357and the USS Anthony DD515 and my life as a civilian. You might find it of interest in view of the Pearl Harbor movie.

That's all for now. Cheerio and all that.
Ken C. Love from Pat.


APRIL 12, 2001

Being from a small town in Nebraska in the late thirties did not hold much hope for one of my age 19. It seemed that only the Navy held any solution. Finally in June of 1940 I was one of nine out of ninety applicants selected to go through Boot Training at Great Lakes.

Designated as a special order clerk because of my typing I was assigned to the Staff of Commander Destroyer Squadron Four. On October 21, 1940 I went aboard the USS SELFRIDGE.

After about a month in the Squadron Office Chief Lareau decided that I would {NEVER} be a yeoman so he had me assigned to the deck force of the ship. There were many things that I learned. They included lines seizing, tying, tarring, usage. Small boat handling. Helmsmanship, rangefinder operation, all good seamanly things. Most importantly I decided I was going to be a yeoman.

The ships engineering log room was where I started volunteering to type the log, all numbers. Chief Kelly of the ships company learned of my interest and took me into the ships office as a striker.

I took and passed the Destroyers Battle Force test in May of l941 but was not rated until September 1st the week after Chief Kelly was transferred to new construction. I did the usual third class duties but one of the highlights was typing on the manuscript for the book "School of the Sea", being written by our skipper Leland P. Lovette.

In early November of 1941 we were called back to Pearl Harbor from herding the battleships off Lahaina. On the 11th, fully provisioned and refueled. we departed Pearl Harbor and were told by our skipper, Wyatt Craig, that we were going to Canton Island.

One day after we crossed the Equator with full ceremony we arrived at our destination. There we began antisubmarine patrol off the President Garfield, a freighter that was aground on the reef that surrounded the small island that was the base for Pan American Clippers that were going to and from Australia.

There we challenged every ship that came over the horizon until late in November when we started back to Pearl Harbor. At Palmyra we were told to escort the USS Antares, which had a barge under tow. One day out of Palmyra the Army decided the Antares had the wrong barge under tow, so we had to return. We resumed our blazing five-knot voyage.

Two days from Pearl Harbor we were nearly out fuel, out of food, other supplies were low so special permission allowed us to proceed at our most economical speed. We arrived at the entrance to Pearl Harbor at 1630 on December 6, 1941. Out captain sent the starboard whaleboat to pick up the mail and food supplies.

We berthed alongside a destroyer at Xray 9 tied up to the USS WHITNEY. We were a short distance from Ford Island and the Battleship row.

Allen Dewitt and I had liberty and met his brother Clyde and had the usual Saturday night liberty in Honolulu. I awoke the next morning to the sound of; somebody running through the compartment yelling "Guns, Fire, Torpedoes, Guns, Fire, Torpedoes." I jumped into my dungarees and rushed topside to port just in time to see the USS RALEIGH struck by a torpedo. It flashed through my mind "Damn Germans", then I saw the red meat ball on the wing of the plane. I rushed to my battle station that was in the main battery control. I was just in time to see the SHAW explosion. When I realized that we could not do any good with our single purpose guns I rushed to the forward engine which was my getting underway station. There informed that we had no fuel, I rushed forward, there I saw some sailors making up bandoleers f.50 cal shells, so I grabbed two and carried them up to the .50 cal machine guns on number 2 stack. I later discovered that I could not even carry one bandoleer on a flat deck.

A yard oil came along side and fueled us and we got some supplies, with our skipper back on board we got underway about 10:20 or 11:00 and went out past the USS UTAH keel up on the port side and the USS NEVADA aground stern to on our starboard side. We proceeded out of Pearl and assumed a patrolling station.

We escorted the USS SARATOGA and others to relieve the Marines at Wake Island. On the way back the SARATOGA was torpedoed. We went back to Canton Island. We then escorted the SARA to Bremerton.

We then went to the South Pacific. Fired the first shots at Gaudalcanal in our eventual defeat of Japan. We were torpedoed at Vela Lavella when three American destroyers went upagainst 9 Japanese destroyers.

I was aboard the USS ANTHONY for the landing in the Bougainville area. Fire support at TINIAN, SIAPAN, GUAM and The Philippine Sea battle. Fire support at Iwo Jima, Landing at Okinawa. Radar picket at Okinawa. Patrolled up the Coast of China. Occupation of Japan at Nagasaki.

Promoted to Chief Yeoman on the USS Mount Mazama in February of 1946. I was discharged in June of 1946. Reenlisted in the reserves 1972. Retired as Senior Chief Yeoman in 1986.

Was Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club in 1960. President of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce in 1976 and President of the Oakdale Kiwanis club.

Ran my own insurance agency from the fall of 1972 until May of l985. Sold out to a Vietnam veteran (lieutenant).

Ken Carlson Page

Subject: Re: Anthony: From Ken C- I
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2000 17:36:04 EDT
From: KingDogCharlie@cs.com
To: bobrsr@erols.com
CC: wwenger@attglobal.net, Cmgoerlich@aol.com

Bob: The following was by C.J. Van Arsdall,Jr., Commander, skipper of Anthony.

The Commanding Officer is aware that the higher echelons of command have taken not of the performance of destroyers on  radar picket stations.   He doubts, however, that anyone never having been regularly assigned to such duty can fully realize the effect which this duty has upon the officers and crew, particularly of vessels which have witnessed successful suicide crashes other ships and have themselves been under direct attack.

A tension builds up which is evident in many ways, and which is not relaxed by periods for logistics between tours of duty on picket stations, largely because of the knowledge that coming assignments are "more of the same."

Cases of active hysteria requiring transfer were few on this ship. How long others still on board could have held out is subject to question. After a certain time, the best efforts to boost morale are futile.  The boys know what they are in for, and you can't fool them.  We found that we could take it, but we didn't like it.

Everyone know that the duty was a nasty job, but a necessary one, and was well aware that every plane which manage to get in was a separate case of "either or us." To the great credit of the men nobody was fool enough to pretend he wasn't and make fun of fear. And the fear was not expressed by hysteria, but by a growing tension which seemed to relax only when the guns were shooting. All hands felt much better at battle stations than at any other place.

The C.O. has nothing but praise for each and every officer and crewman, for the ship was never operated more effectively than under these conditions....

Note:  It was my privilege to type these words the first time. And it brings tears to my eyes to type them again as a tribute to the best skipper any sailor ever had.

Ken Carlson (YNC)

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